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Midfielder laid low

Kroos sidelined but Germany include FCB trio

Toni Kroos has been ruled out of Germany's first 2014 World Cup qualifier on Friday, but at least three Bayern stars will start the match. Captain Philipp Lahm, keeper Manuel Neuer and Thomas Müller are in the team to face the Faeroe Islands, assistant coach Hansi Flick said on Thursday. The other two FCB players in the Germany squad, Holger Badstuber and Jerome Boateng, are also likely to feature at some point.

By contrast, Kroos is definitely out of Friday's match due to pelvic bruising, although the midfielder is expected to resume team training on Saturday. “We're motivated and fired up," said Lahm in the build-up to the first qualifier against the Nordic minnows. Germany are favourites in a group also including Austria, Ireland, Sweden and Kazakhstan. “We accomplished our last qualifying task brilliantly with ten victories, but it'll be more difficult this time. Nothing is guaranteed," warned Germany boss Joachim Löw, who has confirmed he will play Lahm on the right rather than the left, the role he now fills for his club.

Müller going for goals

“We need to make a good start and restore a more positive attitude," said Müller, who is the Bundesliga's top scorer after two matches with three goals. “There's nothing finer than goals. They’re good for me too, because it means I get some peace – from you lot," the 22-year-old grinned in response to reporters’ questions.

The Faeroes lie a lowly 154th in the world ranking, but proved tricky opponents in two previous qualifiers against the Germans. In the 2002/03 season, the three-time World Cup winners won both matches but only by narrow 2–1 and 2–0 scorelines. However, the home side start as favourites, and victory in Hanover would be the 500th in Germany’s international history.

The winners of the nine European qualifying groups qualify automatically for the 2014 showdown in Brazil. The eight best runners-up contest a round of play-offs to fill the remaining four places.